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Joseph Barrett

Joseph Barrett

June 3, 1922 August 12, 2020

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Obituary

Obituary for Joseph J. Barrett

Joseph J. Barrett, 98, of Wyomissing passed away Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, surrounded by his wife and family. Joe was a World War II veteran who had served with the famous 490th Bomb Squadron “Burma Bridge
Busters”.

Born in Edwardsville, Pa., on June 3, 1922, he was the son of Joseph F. and Laura (James) Barrett. He left to serve with the US Army Air Corps at the age of 20, and obtained the rank of Staff Sergeant during his tour of duty in the China/Burma/India theater of operations.

After returning to the U.S. and his home in Pennsylvania, he married Mary Shirley (Howell) in 1947. He graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in mechanical engineering, and went to work for the Carpenter Steel Company (CarTech). He attended the University of Pittsburgh for post-graduate work in metallurgy, and was instrumental in inventing several metal alloys for which CarTech was awarded patents. He was also instrumental in opening Carpenter's Bridgeport, Conn., facility in 1958. He remained there with his family for 10 years before moving back to Berks County.

Joe had a fine mind for solving any mechanical problem. In 1988 he was awarded a patent for “a storm shutter for use in high wind severe storms, such as hurricanes and cyclones,” and was co-inventor of a device that allowed patients to have their hair washed while confined to a bed.

He also had an Irishman’s wit and could tell a joke or story that would make you laugh or move you to tears. In his earlier years he enjoyed bowling, singing with local choral groups, square dancing, but most of all fishing. The man loved to fish.

He also loved his friends. He and his wife Shirley must have driven a million miles in their life together. If he was in a town where a friend lived, he always stopped in to say hello. Together Joe and Shirley traveled up and down the East Coast visiting their children or picking up their grandchildren for “Summers at Grandma’s”. In his later years, he enjoyed driving his beloved John Deere tractor.

Joe was most proud of his commitment to maintaining the bond between his 490th Bomb Squadron
buddies. For almost 40 years, Joe was the editor of “The 490th Flyer”, a newsletter that reached readers
throughout the U.S. and abroad. He was also involved in planning 490th reunions all over the country
and caretaking the legacy. He never failed to provide historical notes, personal histories and photos of
the squadron.

Joseph J. Barrett is survived by his wife of 74 years, Mary Shirley, and six children: Patricia Gombos (Ray) of Fairfield, Conn.; David Barrett (Tracy-Lynn) of Johnson, Vt.; Joseph J. Barrett, Jr. (Jean) of Barnet, Vt.; Mary Elizabeth Barrett of Hershey; Kathleen Hill Fuhrman (Jere) of Wyomissing; and Christine Barrett-Kucenski (Steve) of Laureldale.

He is also survived by 18 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation is Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., West Reading. A celebration of life immediately follows at the funeral home. Burial at a later date will be determined by the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to VWM Foundation Inc., 7 Lantern Lane, Greenwich, Conn. 06831-4124.

The Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, West Reading, is honored to serve the Barrett family. Condolences and remembrances may be made at kuhnfuneralhomes.com.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    August 17, 2020 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm
    Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc.
    739 Penn Avenue
    West Reading, PA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 17, 2020
    2:00pm - 3:00pm
    The family respectfully requests that all attendees wear masks and follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • Service

    August 17, 2020 | 3:00pm
    Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc.
    739 Penn Avenue
    West Reading, PA
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    August 17, 2020
    3:00pm

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Dale and Joyce Hansen, Steve Potteiger, and other have sent flowers to the family of Joseph J. Barrett.
Hand delivered by a local florist
Flowers
Dale and Joyce Hansen, Steve Potteiger, and other have sent flowers to the family of Joseph J. Barrett.
Hand delivered by a local florist
DH

Dale and Joyce Hansen

With deepest sympathy. It was an honor to know Joe.
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Memorial Flowers Purchased

Dale and Joyce Hansen purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Joseph Barrett.
Comment | Posted at 08:33am via Floral Arrangements
SP

Steve Potteiger

With loving memories of "Joseph Barrett",
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Memorial Flowers Purchased

Steve Potteiger purchased flowers for the family of Joseph Barrett.
Comment | Posted at 09:06am via Floral Arrangements
HH

Howard and Dillie Harrison

Our deepest condolences. Joe will be missed.
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Memorial Flowers Purchased

Howard and Dillie Harrison purchased flowers for the family of Joseph Barrett.
Comment | Posted at 04:55pm via Floral Arrangements
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